Well, yet another Abilify for depression study is out in CNS Spectrums and guess what... Still not a significant advantage over placebo according to patients. So in each of three large studies, Abilify has failed to beat a placebo according to patients' self-report. These three trials are the basis for the massive marketing campaign and an FDA approval. Abilify started off as an also-ran antipsychotic. But times have changed. Bristol-Myers Squibb's CEO prophetically stated in 2004 after Abilify's approval as a treatment for bipolar disorder:
This approval underscores our commitment to delivering innovative solutions that address unmet needs for a broad spectrum of patients with mental illness, as well as their families and health care providers.He could as easily have stated: "This approval underscores our commitment to rebranding our unpopular antipsychotic as a Swiss Army Knife/broad spectrum psychotropic that treats everything under the sun. If I can get the FDA and the public to believe that this akathisia-inducing bottom feeder can treat depression, then I'll be LOADED, BWAAH, HA HA HA HA!!!"
OK, maybe he didn't actually say any of those things, but his "broad spectrum" comment was literally right on the money. Just don't ask those pesky patients what they think; they might tell you it's no better than a damn sugar pill.
Yes, I'm aware that on some other rating scales, Abilify was rated as superior to a placebo, but I'm thinking that if the patient self-report of depression is consistently not favorable for Abilify, then who are we kidding by calling it an antidepressant?
Robert M. Berman, Maurizio Fava, Michael E. Thase, Madhukar H. Trivedi, René Swanink, Robert D. McQuade, William H. Carson, David Adson, Leslie Taylor, James Hazel, & Ronald N. Marcus (2009). Aripiprazole Augmentation in Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Patients with Inadequate Response to Antidepressants CNS Spectrums, 14 (4), 197-206